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Andrew E. Palenchar


1925 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Andrew E. Palenchar Obituary
Andrew Edward Palenchar, 91, born Oct. 30, 1925, in Carpentertown, Pa., was the son of John A. and Mary Magdalene Puhala Palenchar. He was residing at the Colorado State Veteran's Home in Aurora, Colo. (for the past six months after living with his daughter for 6 1/2 years) when he died Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, with his daughter at his side. He attended Hurst High School and received his B.A. from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His wife, Rose Veronica Harvan, predeceased him on Aug. 7, 2009. They were married June 14, 1947, at St. Barnabas Slovak Catholic Church in Swissvale. Andrew is survived by his daughter, Sandra Lee Bourassa, of Aurora, Colo., and his son, Jack Hankins, of Fayette, Ala. He is also survived by his grandsons, Jason Bourassa, of Aurora, Colo., and Jack Hankins, of Thomasville, Ala.; his granddaughter, Kelly Hankins KoIb, of Euphora, Miss.; as well as his great-grandsons, Vash Bourassa, Cooper Hankins, Carter Hankins, Conner Kolb and Carsen KoIb. His sister, Helen Palenchar Woodman, and brother, Michael Palenchar, reside in Greensburg. There are also 13 nieces and nephews in his family. Andrew was a combat veteran and war hero. He served his country in the Navy during World War II on the USS Finback SS230 class submarine. While on its 10th war patrol, the Finback -- with Andrew at the helm and the first man on deck -- rescued Lt. J.G. George Herbert Walker Bush, this country's 41st president, after he was shot down by the Japanese off of Chichi Jima in the South Pacific. Andrew reached over the side of the Finback and pulled the future president out of the water, saving his life. When WWII ended, Andrew played minor league baseball as a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in Jeanette. After injuring his arm, he went to work for the J. Edgar Thompson steel mill in Braddock, where he met his wife. Also during that time, he joined the Army Reserves. Just as the Korean War was escalating, his reserve unit was called to active duty in September 1950. Andrew then attended Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Ga., before serving for 15 months in 1954-1955 in the Korean War. He continued his military career and served two tours of duty in South Vietnam, 1966-1967 and 1970-1971, for a total of 2 1/2 years in the country. He retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in October 1979, having served his country for more than 34 years of his life.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 2, 2017, at BROOKS FUNERAL HOME INC., 406 E. Washington St., Mt. Pleasant, with a viewing from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Full military honors will be accorded at the graveside. A memorial service will be held in Colorado at a date and time to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warriors Fund. To offer a condolence or remembrance, please visit www.brooksfuneralhomes.com.
Published in Greensburg Tribune Review from Feb. 28 to Mar. 1, 2017
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